If I’ve never catched waves before, which is better: Surfing or Bodyboarding?

Surfing and bodyboarding are different disciplines, although they share some similarities. Hence, there is some controversy about which one to choose, especially when you want to start catching waves.

Beginners often don’t know the existence of both variants and the differences between surfing and bodyboarding. Therefore, we will dedicate this article to show their characteristics and why to do bodyboarding or surfing according to the circumstances.


Similarities and differences between surfing and bodyboarding

Superficially, it may seem that surfing and bodyboarding are the same. In reality, both involve catching waves on a board, performing maneuvers, and making tubes.

As a result, adrenaline, excitement, and fun are guaranteed in both disciplines. Of course, the connection with the water is maximum, and the physical wear is compensated with the emotional rush you experience.

In addition, bodyboarding and surfing are really addictive sports: when you try them and start enjoying them, they hook you forever.

Anyway, to be clear about why to do bodyboarding or surfing, you need to know their differences.

Surfboard and bodyboard

This is surfing

It is the most popular, ancient, and most practiced discipline of catching waves. Its objective is to stay on the board while pumping the wave to gain speed and make turns and tubes. It ensures fun throughout the process, even when you still don’t master the art of taking off or standing up on a surfboard.

The key to standing up lies in placing your body weight correctly on the board, distributing it as needed to gain speed, catch a wall, or make a turn. All this to direct the board where you need it at each moment. All this requires a high physical effort, not only because of the tension and difficulty of doing all this on a wave, but also because it requires reaching the place where the waves break, the peak, which is usually very demanding depending on where each wave breaks.

To catch waves while surfing, you need to have a good surfboard. Additionally, it is important to have a wetsuit that will protect you from the cold and frequent bumps, scratches, and wounds. It is common to hit the rocks, the bottom, and the fins of the surfboard.

Surfer making a turn

This is bodyboarding

Obviously, as we have said, you will also catch waves when practicing bodyboarding. However, you will use smaller and more flexible boards than in surfing. They lack fins since it is their edges that fix them to the wall of the wave. In general, they are made of foam of different densities.

Do you know what the main difference between surfing and bodyboarding is? In this second modality, you lie face down on the board. Consequently, your upper body assumes the greatest prominence when surfing. In contrast, in surfing, it is mainly your legs that determine balance.

Another differential feature between the two options is that bodyboarding is ideally done with waves with a larger lip and more vertical in search of an aerial.

The origin of this sport, popularly known as boogie, is in Hawaii. When Captain Cook arrived in the area in 1780 and wrote his logbook, he mentioned the natives surfing waves like this.

Today, Tom Morey is considered the godfather of bodyboarding. When he caught a wave with his surfboard but broke it in half, he had to finish it lying on what was left of it.

Bodyboarder making an aerial

If you have never catched waves, is it better to surf or bodyboard?

This decision can be crucial for your development. We have just seen why doing bodyboarding and surfing is not the same. The question now is to decide which one beginners should start with.

The first idea is that neither of the modalities is better than the other. Despite the eternal dispute among surfers and bodyboarders over which discipline demands more in the water. Don’t let that influence you. In practice, they are two parallel paths to enjoy the sea, catch waves, have fun, and enjoy contact with nature. Your experiences, emotions, and experiences will be absolutely memorable!

It is true, however, that bodyboarding is usually easier to master at the beginning of the learning process. This is a good answer to the question: why do bodyboarding? As you progress faster, it is more difficult to throw in the towel and give up on the spot. Therefore, if determination and constancy are not your strong points, keep it in mind.

After analyzing why to do bodyboarding and what the differences are between surfing and bodyboarding, what is the conclusion? Basically, it is a decision conditioned by your personal style, the type of waves you have access to, depending on what sport is better. The best advice for beginners is to contact a qualified instructor; their recommendations will help you decide better. In addition, they will teach you to recognize a rip current and what to do if you lose your board, among other tips and guidelines. Finally, remember that having suitable surfing and bodyboarding equipment to catch waves is crucial.

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